About the lab

Our brains are composed of around 100 billion cells, each of which is constantly active undergoing a series of chemical reactions between small molecules known as metabolites. The goal of the neurometabolic imaging lab is to investigate how the quantities of these molecules relate to brain health and function.


Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners generate and measure water signals in our body to produce incredibly detailed pictures of brain structure, and are commonly used in hospitals to diagnose brain injury or disease. The same MRI scanning technology may also be used to perform a technique called Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) - which allows the levels of a number of brain metabolites (neurometabolites) to be measured. In MRS scans, a spectrum is typically obtained from a single brain region (Single Voxel Spectroscopy) which is subsequently decomposed into its constituent metabolite signals using advanced software analysis algorithms:

Spectral analysis results

Multiple spectra from different brain locations may also be acquired using Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging (MRSI), allowing the metabolite information to be combined and compared with conventional MRI:

MRSI scan

Whilst MRS is extremely powerful, providing a “molecular snapshot” of brain cell biology, the low concentrations of metabolites relative to water molecules presents a number of technical challenges towards getting reproducible results across the whole brain. Research into novel methods to acquire and analyse MRS data to improve reliability is a core activity of the Neurometabolic Imaging Lab.

Recent Publications

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In vivo Glx and Glu measurements from GABA-edited MRS at 3 T.

In vivo quantification of glutamate (Glu) and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) using MRS is often achieved using two separate sequences: a …

Diagnostic accuracy and added value of qualitative radiological review of (1) H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy in evaluation of childhood brain tumors.

H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) facilitates noninvasive diagnosis of pediatric brain tumors by providing metabolite profiles. …

Methodological consensus on clinical proton MRS of the brain: Review and recommendations.

Proton MRS ( H MRS) provides noninvasive, quantitative metabolite profiles of tissue and has been shown to aid the clinical management …

Nicotinamide Riboside Augments the Aged Human Skeletal Muscle NAD+ Metabolome and Induces Transcriptomic and Anti-inflammatory Signatures.

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD ) is modulated by conditions of metabolic stress and has been reported to decline with aging in …

Ex vivo metabolite profiling of paediatric central nervous system tumours reveals prognostic markers.

Brain tumours are the most common cause of cancer death in children. Molecular studies have greatly improved our understanding of these …

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